Kate Winslet Feted At The Munich International Film Festival: “It’s Hard To Make Films As A Woman And It Is Hard To Make Films About Women”

Kate Winslet was feted before the European premiere of her film Lee at the Munich International Film Festival and told the packed crowd about starring in, and producing, the movie about war photographer Lee Miller.

Taking the stage to accept the Festival’s CineMerit award, Winslet said that the release of Lee had been put back. “We chose to delay the release of Lee because of the strike and because I wanted to be able to talk about the real true labor of love that it was for me and my producing partner Kate Solomon to make this film.

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“It’s hard to make films as a woman and it is hard to make films about women. I hope with this film people will be more open-eared and more open-eyed to wanting to absorb stories of phenomenally important historical figures like the formidable Lee Miller.”

Miller was a model turned photographer turned war correspondent. She took a series of iconic and often harrowing pictures during World War Two. The Munich premiere had an added resonance given Miller is known for herself featuring in an iconic shot, in a bathtub in Hitler’s abandoned residence in the German city.

Lee starts out with Miller and her Bohemian friends enjoying life in pre-war France as the storm clouds gather. As events take their course, the film portrays the worst horrors of World War Two, as captured by Miller and her friend and fellow photographer David E. Scherman, played by Andy Samberg.

“Getting the balance right throughout the film was constantly something that we were aware of, not taking the audience too far into the heart of darkness too quickly,” Winslet said.

She added that the part of the movie where Lee and Scherman enter the Dachau concentration camp was particularly challenging to film. “The part that was hardest to shoot was Dachau; it was extremely hard for Andy Samberg who did not want to see the set at all until we’ve actually gone onto his face [in the film]. His entire reaction as we are walking in really is how he was reacting.

“It was just so important to us to make sure that we weren’t trying to emulate images of the camps that have been done brilliantly by other filmmakers in the past. We had to really be determined to make sure we were only seeing it through [Miller and Scherman’s] eyes.”

Winslet was greeted with cheers and applause before and after the film. David Kross, who starred with her in The Reader, paid tribute to the actress before she came on stage to accept her CineMerit accolade.

He said she had effectively been his intimacy coordinator on the 2008 film, before that role existed: “I’m still very thankful for the way you made me feel at ease when working on those very intimate scenes, you created a safe space and helped me understand the process, patiently, empathetically, and most of all with a lot of humor,” he said.

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